Thursday, April 19, 2018
Parenting & Relationships

Brandon couple dances into new year, forever

ST. PETERSBURG — Tim Springer practiced crossing his arms at the wrists — as if grabbing reins — and rhythmically marching in his third-floor apartment.

His execution was less than stellar.

"He couldn't do the arms and the legs at the same time," laughed personal trainer Karen Lederer, 25, at her groom's struggle to learn South Korean rapper PSY's Gangnam Style dance.

Springer, 28, who works in software sales, knew his limitations. "I felt so bad because our neighbors live under us. I was trying to learn but use a light foot."

Despite the difficulty, Springer didn't give up.

On Dec. 31, 2012, four bridesmaids and four groomsmen entered the ballroom at the Grand Plaza Hotel in St. Pete Beach and pulled off a routine to LMFAO's Party Rock Anthem.

The stage had been set. It was showtime.

The DJ introduced the bride and groom. Then the beat dropped.

"Oppan Gangnam style!"

Karen and Tim rode their imaginary horses in front of 97 guests to surprised smiles and expected laughter.

"We just wanted to set the tone of the party," Tim said. "We wanted everyone to have a great time."

Fun was the objective for Karen, ever since she had a dream that their wedding was on New Year's Eve.

"I just saw all my friends say 'Happy New Year!' and I woke up and told Tim we should get married on New Year's Eve," she recalled.

The dream happened in October 2011, so New Year's Eve 2011 would have been too short notice.

"It made every thing less stressful having that much time to plan," Karen said.

Tim's bad with dates. He can't recall the month he decided Karen was the one for him.

"A co-worker was hitting on me and I shut that down immediately. It dawned on me that I wasn't interested in other women. I only wanted this one woman," he said. So he bought a ring and stashed it at a friend's house. For their 18-month anniversary — something Karen insisted was a thing — Tim rushed around trying to find a place that made beaded bracelets. At 2:58 p.m., he received a tip that there was a place nearby, but it closed at 3 p.m.

With a little coaxing, Tim was able to get a bracelet made that day with their names on two separate strands.

Months later on a trip to St. Augustine, Tim handed Karen a bag as they strolled on the beach. "Inside there was a third strand for the bracelet," he said.

Karen opened the bag and pulled out the strand.

"It said, 'Forever' and then I looked up and he was down on one knee," she recalled.

Capturing the joy of that moment, and sharing it with friends and family, made Tim and Karen pour countless hours into planning their wedding and reception.

When the sun set on Dec. 31, tiki torches and luminarias lined the aisle leading to an arch erected in the sand.

"It was the Grand Plaza's first night wedding on the beach," Karen said.

She walked down the aisle with her father, who played an integral part later in the half-hour ceremony. "The wish lantern wouldn't fly up," Tim said. "Her dad finally jokingly ran down the beach with it, and it got enough air that it actually flew. Everyone clapped."

After a brief cocktail hour and those hilarious introductions, the real party started. Tiaras, party hats, noisemakers, inflatable firework centerpieces, beer, wine, a coffee bar and a rock star DJ helped keep the party going from 8:30 p.m. until a half-hour after 2012 ended.

"We should party like that every year," Karen said.

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